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REF NO.: 216

SUBJECT: Memorial University names honorary degree recipients for fall 2003 convocation ceremony

DATE: Sept. 5

Former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton and historian Natalie Zemon Davis will be awarded honorary degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland at next month's convocation ceremony. Memorial's annual fall convocation takes place Friday, Oct 17, at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre. Over 600 graduate and undergraduate degrees will be awarded during two sessions of convocation. As well, five faculty members will be awarded the designation professor emeritus.

John Bruton

John Bruton will be awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree at the 10 a.m. session of convocation. Mr. Bruton is a lawyer and farm owner, and a member of the centrist Fine Gael party. He studied in University College Dublin, from which he received a bachelor of arts degree, before studying to become a barrister in the King's Inn. He was first elected to the Irish parliament in 1969 and during the 1970s served as a junior minister. In Fine Gael cabinets during the 1980s, he was minister for industry, trade, commerce, and tourism and finance minister. He became party leader in 1990 and was subsequently prime minister (1994-97), heading a three-party left-right coalition. As prime minister, Mr. Bruton promoted peace in Northern Ireland. Firmly opposed to the IRA, he suggested that only a majority vote by Ulster could lead to its incorporation into Ireland. In 1995 Mr. Bruton successfully campaigned for constitutional changes allowing divorce in the Irish Republic. He resigned as leader of Fine Gael in 2001. Currently, Mr. Bruton is vice-president of the European People's Party and vice-president of the Christian Democrat International.

Natalie Zemon Davis

{Natalie Zemon Davis}
Natalie Zemon Davis
(click for large version)

Natalie Zemon Davis will be awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree at the 3 p.m. session of convocation. A foremost practitioner of the "new social history," Dr. Davis engaged in almost anthropological research into the lives of the artisans, labourers, and peasants of 16th-century France, resulting in such works as The Return of Martin Guerre (1983). Dr. Davis was educated at Smith College, Radcliffe College, and the University of Michigan, from which she received her PhD in 1959. She has taught at Brown University; at the University of Toronto (where with Jill Ker Conway she founded one of the first courses in history of women to be taught in North America); the University of California at Berkeley; at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris; and, after 1978, at Princeton University, where she became the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies. Now professor emeritus from Princeton, she is currently adjunct professor of History and Anthropology, senior fellow in Comparative Literature, and professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. Dr. Davis has been awarded honorary degrees from the Université de Lyon II, the Universität Osnabrück, Cambridge University, the University of Edinburgh, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Harvard University among other North American institutions.

Those receiving the designation professor emeritus are: Dr. Gerhard Bassler, History; Dr. George Fodor, Medicine; Dr. Gordon Handcock, Geography; Dr. Maxwell House, Medicine; and Dr. Rasul A. Khan, Biology. The category of professor emeritus is open only to retired members of the faculty. To be eligible, a person must have served at least 10 years as a regular full-time faculty member at Memorial and must have held the rank of professor upon retirement. The prime criterion for nomination is sustained, outstanding scholarly work and/or service to the university.

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